Monday, May 30, 2011

The Season Begins

I am returning today from my annual Memorial Day Camping Trip; the trip that begins the season.  Thanks to the ever so handy “auto post” option, I am able to write this before I leave.  Hopefully, during this trip I will:

1.  Stay dry under our new tarp thingy
2.  Beat the pants off of the kids in Speed
3.  Successfully dodge all the marshmallows spit at me
4.  Take advantage of any sun breaks and walk off all the chocolate I stressed ate last week
5.  Relax, rejuvenate and refresh…kind of like reduce, reuse, recycle…only different

Since I’m writing this before I leave, I can’t wait to get back and find out if I did!

Question:  What did you do over Memorial Day Weekend?

Thursday, May 26, 2011


My two charges for the week
Caiden:  9
Selah:  11
This past week of being a single mom has, once again, made me appreciate all you parents out there.  As much as I enjoyed being with those two great girls, I was so ready to get back to my easy single life where all I have to worry about is taking care of myself and making sure my cats have enough food and water and that the poop is removed from their box. 

I am pretty good at getting myself to places on time.  Occasionally, I have been known to push the snooze one too many times, but that isn’t very often.  However, throw two little girls in the mix and my schedule goes kaput.  Even though these girls are fairly independent they still need little nudges to get out the door.

The first morning I went to check on them and realized they had slept through their alarm.  The second morning I found the youngest snoring away while the older one had gone back to bed after her shower, still wrapped in the towel.  Morning three, with a little help from a bribe of a McDonald’s breakfast, we made it to school on time.

Homework is a tough one for me.  If they have math questions they know to not even bother asking me.  And that’s quite embarrassing considering they are still in elementary school.  One evening, during our dinner break between school and dance class, our Red Robin waitress even got in on the homework fun.  She used her phone to look up an answer for us…which reminded me I have Internet on my phone too, so I took it from there.

And, believe it or not, I even suggested a sleepover.  I gave a midnight deadline for quiet; they didn’t have to sleep but they had to be quiet.  I’m used to absolute silence, and if I’m awakened I can’t go back to sleep.  I only hollered a few times from my bed, “I can HEAR you,” when I realized I should probably just close my door.

During school, on my last day with them, I got word their parents may be delayed a day or two because of flight complications.  My body temperature rose a bit at the news.  I sent out requests to several friends to please, please, please pray that they GET ON THAT PLANE!  They did.  Yea prayer!!

Soon after arriving back in my own home after eight days of fill-in-mommy-hood, I had a “Calgon, Take Me Away” moment.  It was just like the commercial.  I submerged myself under the water and all the responsibilities of the last week washed away.  It was wonderful.

And that was after only eight days.  Parents do it 24-7!  I am really spoiled.  And I am also really okay with that.

So, here’s to all you moms out there; you deserve more than just one day a year to be honored.  Every day should be Mother’s Day!

Question:  I’m a bubble bath gal.  How do you stay sane with a busy schedule?

Monday, May 23, 2011

This is HARD!

Okay, Day 8 of Single Mommyhood...This is Hard!!

I went to post my blog last night and my computer battery was dead.
I went to do it this morning and the video wouldn't upload correctly.
AND NOW, their parents plane may be delayed a day!!!
This is HARD!

More later...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Single Moms

Since this blog is about observations on life through the eyes of a Single Christian Woman, ME, this week's observations are centered on single moms because that is what I am this week.  I am staying with two girls, ages 9 and 11, for a week while their parents are out of town.  I'm only on day 3 and am stressed and pooped! 

I want to give a big shout out to all the single moms out there and ask, "How do you do it?"

Well, that is all this part-time, fill-in single mom has time for right now.  I shall share the week's highlights with you next week.

The End

Monday, May 16, 2011


This weekend my church family celebrated its 100th anniversary!  I have been a part of this body for 10 years and that is a record for me.  I’m a bit of a wanderer.

The title of this post is not a real word.  Every which way I type it a red line shows up underneath.  Regardless of how it’s placed in the dictionary, it is how I am feeling these days.  I feel I need to Stay Put!  But it is so foreign to me. 

During my lifetime I attended four elementary schools, two junior high schools, two high schools and two colleges.  I have taught music in seven schools, have been a nanny for two families and served as a children’s minister.  While living in Manhattan I earned a living walking dogs, cleaning apartments, sewing designer dog/cat collars, a couple of stints as a coat check girl, a children’s birthday party entertainer, teaching mommy and me music classes and babysitting for 20 plus families all over the Upper Eastside. 

I have lived in 9 different cities in 5 states.  Until recently, the longest I had kept one address was four years and nine months.  The average length was just two years.  Currently, I have had the same address for 8 ½ years.  It seems strange to still be here; my usual wanderlust is getting antsy.

When moving from place to place was my parent’s decision, I was just along for the ride.  My sisters' and my desires were never really considered.  I always said when I grew up and where to live was MY decision, I would stay put.  But non-stay-puttedness is in my blood.  I have obviously followed the pattern set for me by my parents.

Running away and staying put are at war inside me these days.  I’m anxious for new adventures, but at the same time my roots are running too deep now to just up and leave.  Being single allows me the freedom to do so if I want to.  But staying put helps this single gal’s extended family to solidify.

Is it because I’m getting older that the stay-put bug has invaded my psyche?  Or is it because I’m supposed to stay?  And was leaving really running away all those other times?  Or was I just being led to serve in other places? 

After this weekend’s celebrations I’m glad I’ve been a part of this congregation for as long as I have.  Laying down roots isn’t that bad after all.  A year from now I may be far away, but I don’t think so.  Check back here, May 16, 2012 and see if stay-puttedness won or if I’m a housekeeper in a fishing camp in Alaska. 

Question:  What’s your lifestyle:  A Stay-putter or Nomad?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Car Woes

My cute little Jetta.
My car broke down last week.  In the rain.

Car stuff is another one of those times a husband would come in handy.  Cars would be his department.  The only responsibility I would have is picking it out.  After that, all done.

I bought my Jetta 10 years ago because it had pretty dashboard lights.  They are a purpley-periwinkle blue and red and quite lovely.  And it’s not just me that thinks so; everyone who rides with me comments on how pretty they are.  I was fairly certain I was going to buy a Jetta to begin with, but when I saw the lights, there was no question that would be my car.

This picture doesn't do the lights justice.
 My friend said dashboard lights should not be the deciding factor when purchasing a car.  He’s a guy.

Anyway, back to the breakdown.  I’m on the freeway driving my car home from the shop, after being told they couldn’t find anything wrong with it, when the temperature light beeped and came on.  I looked down and saw the temperature gauge quickly moving all the way to the right.  Uh-oh. 

I took the next exit and pulled over into a Burger King parking lot.  My first response was to run in and get some fries but decided I would have to stress eat later.  Instead, I opened the hood and looked at the coolant container my mechanic had told me to keep an eye on.

Did you know you’re not supposed to unscrew the cap in a situation like this?  I remember being told that at one time in my life, but at that moment the warning was buried underneath a bunch of useless Reality TV information.  Needless to say I will remember it the next time.

A couple of hours later my car was back in the shop.  $900.00 after that, my car was home with me.  Pretty purpley-periwinkle blue lights and all.

I didn’t have a husband to handle all of this: the frustration; the cost; the inconvenience; the rain; the knowing not to unscrew the lid.  However, I did have a dear girl-friend.  Also single.  We stood in the rain together watching the tow guy hook up my car and drive away.  It was only after he was done that we realized waiting in her car to stay dry during the process would have made more sense.

The next best thing to having a husband to tend to my car business is having a great mechanic I can trust.  So if you live on the Eastside of Portland (Oregon, not Maine, a.k.a. the real Portland) I recommend this guy.  I figure any mechanic that’s almost a dead-ringer for Johnny Cash knows what he’s talking about.

I’ve also learned it’s good to have other single girl-friends to stand with you in the rain.  But even better than that are married girl-friends with husbands who are good with cars!

Question:  What made you select the car you drive? 

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Mother of all Holidays

My mom and her 3 daughters.  I'm the cute one on her lap.
 I almost made it through today without someone wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day.  But alas, the well wishing came anyway.  FYI, I’m not a mother.

You don’t need to wish a single woman with no children a Happy Mother’s Day.  It’s just not necessary.  It would be like wishing me a Happy Hanukkah.  Again, not necessary.

People tell me that since I was a nanny, children’s minister and teacher, I’ve played an important role in the lives of hundreds of children.  I know that to be true, but it still doesn’t make me a mother.  And that’s okay; really it is.

It would have been wonderful to get married and have a family, but my life went down a different road.  Thankfully, I never heard the ticking of the proverbial biological clock.  I take that as God’s confirmation that he had other plans for me. 

So next year, please don’t feel pressured to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day.  You can just smile and say, “Hey, you are looking fabulous today.”  And then I can say, “That’s because I don’t have any children.”  J
Question:  How did you spend Mother’s Day?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Flying Solo

We have a nice young man subbing in the 4th grade class at school this week.  He is among the hundreds of new graduates hoping to find a teaching job in an era of extreme educational layoffs.  But since he is single, he has more options available to him than his fellow married teacher candidates.  He can easily up and move to teach anywhere in the world if he wants to. 
Class at Crossroads English School in Pampady, India
I gave him a folder I’ve been saving full of pamphlets of agencies for teaching abroad.   Our conversation reminded me of the positives a single life can bring.  We are free to take advantage of opportunities that arise and not worry about it affecting our kid’s little league schedule or spouse’s promotion at work.  Adventure is an easily packed suitcase away.   

However, that kind of freedom is a tradeoff for having someone to go on the journey with you.   While being unencumbered let’s you jump at a moment’s notice, it also leaves you jumping alone.  I’ve been jumping alone for quite some time now.   There have been times where I preferred going solo and then there were times where having a partner to catch me when I fell would have been nice.

Not Mr. Right!
Either way, I’d rather jump alone than not jump at all.  You miss out on way too much in life waiting for someone to join you.  Do it.  Don’t live with regrets. 

This young man may go for it.  I mentioned to him that, while teaching abroad, he might even find a likeminded young female teacher he could build a life with.  Since I’m his mother’s age, he’s not an option for me, but 25 years ago it would have been fun to have someone like him to jump with.     

Fellow Teachers
I have visited schools in Africa and India, but the timing never seemed right for me to pursue an overseas music teaching career full-time.  Who knows though, maybe someday I will make it back and teach those lovely children what the little black dots on a sheet of music are called.  In the meantime, I will continue jumping solo and being the most fabulous single gal there ever was!

These pictures are from a 2005 trip to India. 

Question:  Are you the type that, if your circumstances allowed, you would “jump at a moment’s notice” for some great opportunity or adventure? 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Some Testosterone is a Good Thing

There are times it is good to have a husband.  Let me rephrase that.  There are times it is good to have a husband who is handy and knows how to fix things.  My friend has one of those kinds of husbands.  She’s lucky; I’m jealous.

We spent several hours Saturday rigging up a giant PVC pipe tarp-holder-thingy for our upcoming Memorial Day weekend camping trip.  Since it has rained the last three times we’ve gone, we vowed to be better prepared this year.  Her husband was great and had the plans all drawn up and knew what to do.  We added our two cents worth, but in the end, it was his plan that came through for us.

The day began with a trip to Home Depot:  the husband, his wife, their 4th grade daughter, me and another single female friend.  That ratio had his testosterone at an unfair advantage to our estrogen.  He acts like it’s hard being outnumbered, but we know better.  He loves us.  Putting up with us is another point in his favor in addition to the whole deal about being good at fixing things.

Most of the time I’m fine with being single:  I’m good at it, don’t mind being alone, and can usually take care of myself.  But there are times when I go camping that I do wish I had a husband to help me set up my tent…and carry all the heavy stuff…and keep me from being afraid once it gets dark…and to have a fire burning when I wake up…and to load, unload, reload and unload the car…Okay, forget what I said about being able to take care of myself.  But it would also be nice having another man around to give my friend’s husband some testosterone to hang out with when the estrogen starts to get a little too chatty.

Question:  If you’re married, what is something practical you really appreciate about your spouse?  If you’re single, what is something practical you’re looking for in a spouse?